“Tum shayar nahin hotey, toh bahut hi ordinary aadmi hotey”(Had you not been a poet, you would have been a very ordinary man”
These are the words of Aarti Devi, the ambitious, Indira Gandhi- like character in the movie Aandhi, directed towards her husband. The dialogues for this movie were written by Gulzar, and apparently this dialogue is inspired from the actual words that his wife once made in real life to him.
I personally do not have a very high opinion of Gulzar as a poet. In my opinion, Gulzar is far better as a dialogue writer than as a poet. As a poet, he is awkward, plays around with words that sound very well but have little or no poetic embellishment, sometimes making simple things sound more complex.
It still makes him a very fine lyricist, though, because music works as a distraction from the words, and then there are those flashes of brilliance. Take for example, one of the otherwise very fine songs: Humne dekhi hain in aankhon se mehakti khushboo”- eyes that smell like flowers? I find this one difficult to swallow. One can pull out many other examples, and probably this will be the subject of another post.
This post, however, brings out some discussions on his lyrics from deep down the internet archives- I first read them in the mid- 1990s, and this thread pertained to comparisons between Sahir Ludhianvi and Gulzar. The internet browsing community then was dominated by the fans of Sahir, I have a feeling that the tables have now turned and Sahir is less popular than Gulzar. A whole generation has grown up without listening to Sahir as much as it has listened to Gulzar. The fact that Sahir died nearly three decades ago, and his best work was in the 1950s and 60s, makes sound him far less contemporary than Gulzar.
Sami Mohammad satirized Gulzar’s style in this interesting re- write of some of Sahir’s popular lyrics in the style of Gulzar. The thread was called “Gulzar becomes Sahir”. The style that Sami has chosen is more like the Gulzar of the 1970s and 1980s, I’d wager that the Gulzar post 1990s is more mature as a lyricist.
PART I: Gulzar’s extraordinary vocabulary! (Words such as bartan, chappal, taxi,
bus, train, etc)
1S. Haseen champaee pairon ko jabse dekha hai
Nadi ki mast sadaen bula rahi hain tumhe
1G. Haseen champaee pairon ko jabse dekha hai
Bata ki Hawaai chappal bula rahi hai tumhe
2S. Dil ki bechaen umangon pe karam farmaao
Itna ruk ruk ke chalogi to quayaamat hogi
2G. Tum aaoge to noor aa jaega
Itna ruk ruk ke chalogi to local train chooT jaegi
4S. Aap jo phool bichae unhe hum THukraaen
Humko Dar hai ke ye tauheen-e-mohabbat hogi
4G. Tumne to aakaash bichaaya
Mere nange paaon me zamin ki gard hai
Mohabbat maili ho jaegi
5S. Pyaar par bas to nahin hai mera lekin phir bhi
Tu bataade main tujhe pyaar karun ya na karun
5G. In pyaar ki lambi sadkon par, public bus to chalti nahin phir bhi
Jo ghoomti phirti rehti hain, main woh taxi hire karun ya na karun
PART II: The complex Gulzar. Simple things expressed in an unnecessarily
complex manner. “Ghoomake dena” !
6S. Lo aaj humne toR diya rishta-e-ummeed
Lo ab gila karenge na kisi se hum
6G. Neele aakaash ke ghoonsle par jo ummeed ke boodhe baba thhe unhe humne
alvida keh diya
Duniya ke samandar ko gile-shikwon ki boondh se na chheRenge hum
7S. Tum mujhe bhool bhi jaao to ye haq hai tumko
Meri baat aur hai maine to mohabbat ki hai
7G. Sust raste aur tez quadam raahen tumhe meri yaad nahin dilaae to kya
Pathhar ki haweli se sheeshe ke gharondon tak meri rooh tumhaare ehsaas ko
8S. GHam aur KHushi me farq na mehsoos ho jahan
Main dil ko us muquaam pe laata chala gaya
8G. GHam ka kinara jahan KHushi ke kinare se bachkar kinare se milta hai
Usi kinare par maine apne dil ke kinare ko kinare laga diya
9S. Tum agar mujhko na chaaho to koi baat nahin
Tum kisi aur ko chahogi to mushkil hogi
9G. Tere bina zindagi se koi shikwa to nahin lekin
Barfili sardion me kisi bhi pahaad par
Bhool bhulayyan galion me kisi ajnabi ke saath
Tumhe uRte hue dekhunga to mushkil hogi
10S. M: Hum aapko KHwaabon me la la ke sataenge
F: Hum aapki aankhon se neenden hi uRaden to ?
10G. M: Hum aapko KHwaabon me la la ke sataenge
F: Aankhon me neend na hogi, aansu hi tairte honge
Aansu ke samandar me neend ki naaov (boat) nahin aa paaegi
PART III: The ultra-complex Gulzar. Jab kuchh samajhme na aae, then use
contradictory lines to make things look profound.
11S. Hum intezaar karenge tera quayamat tak
KHuda kare ke quayamat ho aur tu aae
11G. Koi waada nahin kiya lekin, kyun tera intezaar rehta hai
Tere aa jaane ke baad bhi, hume tera intezaar rehta hai
12S. Main pal do pal ka shaer hun
Pal do pal meri kahani hai
Pal do pal meri hasti hai
Pal do pal meri jawani hai
13G. Main pal do pal ka shaer hun
Woh pal, jo aanewaala thha, lekin jaanewaala bhi hai
Jab main isme zindagi bitane ki sonchta hun
To duniya mujhpe hansti hai
More on the Sahir vs Gulzar discussions.